Tracing the Origin of the Bullpen Telephone

From Andrew Keh at on October 24, 2011, with mention of SABR member Peter Morris:

The origin of the telephones used in major league dugouts and bullpens remains vague. An article Sunday in The New York Times said that neither the Hall of Fame nor the commissioner’s office knew when the phones first appeared in stadiums.

Peter Morris, a baseball historian, tried to solve the mystery in his 2006 book, “A Game of Inches: The Stories Behind the Innovations That Shaped Baseball,” and was similarly thwarted.

“It was one of the tougher topics to research,” Morris said in a telephone interview Sunday. “There were about a thousand different ‘firsts’ in the book, but this one was pretty elusive.”

The earliest reference to dugout telephones he found came from a 1930 article in The Sheboygan Press that mentioned a bullpen phone at Yankee Stadium.

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Originally published: October 24, 2011. Last Updated: October 24, 2011.